Chapter 2: Planning for the SBS 2008 Deployment


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In This Chapter

  • Knowing the Client Base

  • Planning the Network

  • Planning the Storage Layout

Deploying Small Business Server 2008 into a client network is more involved than simply installing the software on a server and plugging it into the network. As such, when planning for an SBS 2008 installation, hardware requirements are not the only factors that need to be addressed. Merely running the SBS 2008 installation process and providing the correct network settings will not guarantee a successful deployment for a business.

There are two general categories of people who install SBS 2008—those who install it for their own use, and those who install on behalf of others. No matter which category you fall into, there are a number of preparatory steps you need to take prior to inserting the installation media and powering on the new server. This chapter covers the basic hardware guidelines for running an effective SBS 2008 server, as well as the other factors that need to be addressed prior to implementation.

Knowing the Client Base

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules that you can use to determine what resources you need to implement an SBS 2008 server. The implementation needs depend on how the system will be used. An SBS 2008 server for a 20-person company that primarily uses the system for e-mail and file and print services may be configured very differently from a 10-person company that has high-volume line-of-business applications with a large SQL database that integrates with Exchange.

Getting to know the business needs and the day-to-day manner in which the employees operate will help you better plan the implementation of the SBS 2008 network. The following are some basic questions you will likely need to be answered. A more detailed examination of other aspects of the installation follows. Questions that should be asked before attempting an SBS installation include the following:

  • How many users are in the organization?

  • How many devices are in the organization?

  • What is the geographic layout of the organization (one site, multiple sites, and so on)?

  • What desktop technologies are being used (Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, Linux, and so on)?

  • What is the connection to the Internet?

  • Does the organization have an existing domain name for the web?

  • Does the organization have an existing e-mail domain name and provider?

  • Does the organization have users who want to work remotely, either from home or while traveling for business?

  • Does the organization want to restrict or track access to external web sites?

  • How many printers are in the organization? How many of them need to be shared?

  • Does the organization have a fax machine? Will the organization be using the fax services of SBS?

  • Does the organization have or need a terminal server?

Understanding How the Server Will Be Used

With previous versions of SBS, everything was on one box, so the determination of how to build and configure that box was fairly straightforward. As long as you provided enough CPU power, RAM, and disk space to accommodate the business needs, you would be in pretty good shape.

With the second server option in SBS 2008 Premium, this planning gets a little more complex. In some cases, installing everything on one box may still be feasible, even if SQL is needed for a line-of-business application. In some cases, the ability to split SQL off to its own server gives greater performance for the database and the application that relies on it. In some cases, the business might have a need for deploying Terminal Services on the second server and not use SQL at all. The end result of this more complex set of possibilities is that the approach to determining appropriate resources levels becomes more complex as well.

As a result, this book can offer only general guidelines for the various configuration options for your SBS server. The information contained in this chapter focuses on the core components of SBS, Server 2008, Exchange 2007, Sharepoint Services 3.0, WSUS 3.0, and so on, and not on any third-party applications or resources. If tools other than the core SBS components will be installed on the main SBS server, you need to work with the vendor to determine the appropriate resources required to support those additions on the main server.

Planning for Correct Licensing

As with previous versions of SBS, SBS 2008 has some basic restrictions for how the server can be used in a network. The basic license for SBS requires that the core components reside on the SBS server. This means that Exchange, IIS, and Sharepoint have to remain on the SBS server. Even though the Premium Edition provides a second server operating system, the SBS license prevents the core components from being installed on the second server. SQL is the exception to this rule, as the SQL software bundled with the Premium Edition can be installed on either server.

One common misunderstanding about the SBS product space relates to using more than one server in an SBS network. SBS has always allowed for additional servers to be present in the SBS network, even as Domain Controllers. The only restrictions about additional servers is that the SBS server must have all the core components installed on it, and the SBS server must hold the master roles for Active Directory. As long as those items are met, the SBS network can have as many additional member servers and Domain Controllers as is reasonable for a small network. Many consultants have installed additional servers in SBS networks to keep line-of-business applications off the SBS server, and the inclusion of the second server OS license in the Premium Edition of SBS 2008 recognizes the practicality of this approach.

Access to the SBS 2008 server is granted through a Client Access License, or CAL. Microsoft has used the concept of CALs for many years to govern access to software resources, and the SBS product line has followed in this design. The SBS product uses a different type of CAL from other Windows Server products, however, because it encompasses a number of technologies. For instance, in a "traditional" server setup running Windows Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2007, each user accessing the network would need a Server 2008 CAL and an Exchange 2007 CAL to be properly licensed to access the file and print services on the server, as well as the mail services in Exchange. The SBS CAL, however, covers access to all the bundled technologies, so separate CAL purchases are not needed.

Microsoft has changed one aspect of CAL purchases with SBS 2008 that will be welcomed by sites needing more than five CALs. SBS 2008 still has the initial five CALs bundled with the product, but additional CALs can be purchased singly instead of in 5- or 20-CAL packs, as with previous versions. So, those sites needing 17 CALs total can purchase an additional 12 CALs instead of an additional 15 to meet their CAL requirements.

Standard Versus Premium CALs

One other important difference in SBS 2008 from previous versions of SBS is that there are separate CALs for the Standard and Premium products, specifically in relation to SQL. In SBS 2003, a single SBS CAL covered access to both the Standard and Premium products, meaning that you were essentially buying the license for the premium technologies even if you did not have the Premium version of SBS 2003 in production.

Microsoft has addressed this concern by splitting the CALs along the SQL lines and lowering the cost of the Standard CAL. There is a potential for confusion in the way that Premium CALs have been positioned. If SBS 2008 Premium is deployed in a network, you do not necessarily need to purchase Premium CALs for all users and devices in the network. You only need to purchase a Premium CAL for a user or device that will be accessing the SQL resources. Table 2.1 breaks down the four CAL types with SBS 2008.

TABLE 2.1 SBS 2008 Client Access Licenses

CAL Type


Standard User CAL

Allows a single person to access resources of the SBS server from any device.

Standard Device CAL

Allows a single device to access resources of the SBS server for any number of people.

Premium User CAL

Allows a single person to access SQL resources of SBS 2008 Premium from any device.

Premium Device CAL

Allows a single device to access SQL resources of SBS 2008 Premium for any number of people.

As an example, suppose you have 20 users on your SBS 2008 Premium network. You have the SBS 2008 SQL server installed, and 8 of those users need to access the SQL resources. In this instance, you would need 12 Standard User CALs and 8 Premium User CALs. If you allocate the five included CALs from SBS 2008 as Premium CALs, you would need to purchase only three Premium CALs and 12 Standard CALs.

In another example, you have purchased SBS 2008 Premium to get the second server license and will not be installing or using SQL. In this instance, you would not need to purchase any Premium CALs.

In short, you need to provide a Premium CAL for every person who will be using SQL on the network, and all other users can make use of Standard CALs.

When to Use User CALs

For the majority of SBS 2008 installation, User CALs are the proper CAL to use. A User CAL is assigned to a person, and authorizes that person to access any of the network resources managed by the SBS 2008 server from any device. If an employee has a workstation in the office, a cell phone/PDA that accesses his or her mailbox, and a workstation at home used to get into Outlook Web Access or the Remote Web Workplace, a single User CAL assigned to that person covers his or her access from all of those devices and locations. If that person were not covered by a User CAL, each device that person used to access the server would need to have a Device CAL assigned to it. In this example, that would mean three Device CALs would be needed: one for the PC at the office, one for the cell phone/PDA, and one for the workstation at home. If that person attempted to use Outlook Web Access from another device—say, a kiosk at a trade show or a relative's home computer—that person would be accessing the server without a valid license.

When to Use Device CALs

A Device CAL makes sense when there is a single resource that is shared by multiple people. The most common example of when to use a Device CAL is for a facility that runs work in shifts, and each computer may have two or more people who use that resource during their shift. If, for example, a facility has 30 workstations on a plant floor and the facility runs three shifts, there would potentially be 90 people accessing the server from those resources. Acquiring 90 User CALs for these people would go beyond the licensing limit for SBS. However, only 30 Device CALs would be needed to cover these devices, keeping well within the SBS licensing restrictions.

However, each person accessing those workstations would not be allowed, from a licensing perspective, to access the SBS resources from another workstation that is not covered by a Device CAL. This means that the people accessing the workstations in this example would not be able to use Outlook Web Access from home and still be covered by adequate licenses. For some facilities dealing with shift work, this might be a reasonable approach. But for people who are regularly accessing SBS resources from a number of devices, the Device CAL approach can become very limiting very quickly.

Changes from SBS 2003—Licensing Enforcement - One significant difference in SBS 2008 from previous editions is that there no licensing enforcement engine runs on the server. As with Windows Server 2008, the standard paper license enforcement is all that is needed for SBS 2008. No tools in the software track current license usage, maximum license usage, or whether user or device CALs are being used.

By removing the licensing enforcement engine from the product, it is less painful for system administrators to deal with licensing issues (that is, no need to install license codes on the server, so no worrying about backing up license data in case of disaster or data corruption, no users prevented from logging into the server because there are not enough licenses installed, and so on). On the other hand, it does allow for more abuse of licensing, and no one is sure at this point how that will play out over the life of the product. It will still be important for the consultant and the business to keep track of the licensing paperwork to be able to document appropriate licensing for the server and network should the business be audited.

When to Use Terminal Server CALs

Because the second server license in SBS 2008 Premium could be used to set up a dedicated Terminal Server on the SBS 2008 network, a word about Terminal Server CALs is warranted. The SBS 2008 CAL does not cover access to terminal services on the second server. If you choose to implement the second server as a Terminal Server, or if you bring in another server licensed outside of the SBS 2008 product license to run as a Terminal Server, you need to acquire Terminal Server CALs for the users who access the server.

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